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FlatOut Fun: Part Deux

Bugbear's surprisingly good racer has a sequel, and it's all yours.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 1, 2006
It's hardly been a year since the first FlatOut rolled into stores in a swarm of debris and mangled fenders, but here we are, staring at the release of the sequel. Things work quick in this industry, that much is certain, but we were still surprised to see a follow-up so damn quickly. Luckily, we seem to be rather fond of Finnish developer Bugbear Entertainment's take on speed-meets-destructive-force in racing games, party because it recalls the good ol' days of Destruction Derby on the PS one, and partly because it channels the same visceral feel of Burnout so well.

Thing is, though FlatOut -- and FlatOut 2 in particular -- contain elements of both of the aforementioned games, they still feel like their own brand of racing, which is key in a market littered with half-assed clones and me-too efforts. If you want to talk numbers, we'll throw a couple out at you and see if anything impresses: 40 deformable parts per vehicle, 5000 objects that can shatter, splinter and bounce around any given track, 12 new ragdoll-based mini-games, twice as many cars as the first game, six-player online mode. See, lotsa numbers!

But numbers alone can't really explain why we loved the first game, and why the second is quickly becoming an office addiction. Maybe it's that most of us are guys, and guys like stuff that blows up, but dammit, Bugbear certainly tried to make it addictive. They added multiple routes and shortcuts to tracks, happily included urban courses, included bonuses for slamming into other racers, added more types of vehicles and increased the amount of upgrades you can do to them, added online play, deepened the mini-game sections that use the joy of ragdoll ejections from cars as the core. All these things were added or improved over the original. And stuff blows up, man, how can you not like that?

But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. This is just a news story, meant to inform you that the game is out, now, for $40. If you still need more convincing, we once again point you [ps2review=1210]to our review[/game] of the game. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have an online demolition derby to compete in. Expect tons of lost productivity and college level hooting and hollering. The keg stands and bongs -- beer or otherwise -- are sadly just a typical day in the office.